Buffalo Bills running back, Taiwan Jones, has gifted a pair of playoff tickets to a man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years.
Valentino Dixon, 51, a longtime fan of the Bills and artist was exonerated and released after 27 years at the Attica Correctional Facility. Dixon was released from prison in September 2018.
ESPN reports that Jones first was informed of Dixon’s story at the start of the 2020 NFL season.
"I was already kind of emotional just with everything going on in the world," Jones said. "I was reaching out to different organizations within Buffalo to see what I could do to make a difference. When I first read his story, man, it was touching and heartbreaking. I definitely wanted to do something for him.”
According to CBS News, Dixon was found guilty in connection with the 1991 murder of Torriano Jackson, 17, in Buffalo, NY. His conviction was placed on hold after an Erie County judge accepted a guilty plea from Lamarr Scott, who had first confessed to the murder two days after the incident.
But despite a lack of evidence, Dixon was still convicted and sentenced to 38 1/2 years in prison. His sentence forced him to miss all of the Bills home games during the team’s four year run to the Super Bowl in the 1990s.
Currently, the Bills have a 13-3 record and are the AFC’s No. 2 seed in the NFL.
According to ESPN, Valentino Dixon will be in the stands on Jan. 9 to watch Buffalo Bills and the Indianapolis Colts play in a wild-card game.
Golf Digest featured Dixon’s artwork, where he created vivid colored pencil landscapes of golf courses, in a profile in 2012. "Maybe one day I’ll get to play the game I’ve only imagined," Dixon said in the article.